South Sound Republicans are gaining clout in the state Legislature in January. Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester is taking over the ranking minority role in the newly named Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee. And Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville is moving into a similar ranking role on the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee.
Swecker had been ranking Republican on transportation issues but also has been on the government and elections committee. He takes over for Sen. Pam Roach, the Auburn Republican who tangled with Senate Republican leadership in recent years. Roach does not appear to have any ranking role in the new Senate Republican lineup.
Becker, who is starting her third year in the Senate, represents the 2nd Legislative district that overlaps southeast Thurston and Pierce counties. Like Swecker, she is hopeful for bipartisan work in 2011 and will be working with Democratic Sen. Karen Keiser on the healthcare committee. A major piece of their work deals with federal health reform at the state level.